The Korea Herald


Carmakers' Nov. sales dip 5 percent amid pandemic

By Yonhap

Published : Dec. 1, 2020 - 19:24

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The picture shows new automobiles manufactured in a factory or displayed at a showroom. (Yonhap) The picture shows new automobiles manufactured in a factory or displayed at a showroom. (Yonhap)
South Korean carmakers' sales fell 5 percent last month from a year earlier as the coronavirus outbreak continued to sap demand around the globe, industry data showed Tuesday.

The five carmakers in South Korea -- Hyundai Motor Co., Kia Motors Corp., GM Korea Co., Renault Samsung Motors Corp. and SsangYong Motor Co. -- sold a combined 674,040 vehicles in November, down from 710,466 units a year ago, according to data from the companies.

Weak overseas demand and a series of strikes weighed on the carmakers' overall sales results.

Their domestic sales rose 5 percent to 143,591 units in November from 136,414 a year ago. But their overseas sales declined 7.6 percent to 530,449 units from 574,052 during the same period.

Hyundai and Kia, which together form the world's fifth-biggest carmaker by sales, reduced production at their overseas plants to manage inventories as the COVID-19 pandemic continued.

A three-day walkout at Kia's domestic plants last month also affected the carmakers' combined sales.

In November, Hyundai's sales fell 4.3 percent to 376,704 autos from 393,694, while Kia's rose 2 percent to 256,019 from 250,952 over the cited period.

Strong demand for Hyundai's Palisade, Tucson and Santa Fe SUVs and Kia's Sportage SUV and the Carnival minivan buoyed the results.

Hyundai and Kia said they will continue to make efforts to minimize the negative impact of the pandemic on vehicle sales in global markets while focusing on boosting sales of SUV models.

GM Korea and Renault Samsung, the South Korean units of General Motors Co. and Renault S.A., reported poor sales results last month due to suspended production at their plants.

GM Korea's sales plunged 46 percent to 21,384 units last month from 39,317 a year ago. Renault Samsung's auto sales plummeted 49 percent to 8,074 from 15,749 during the same period.

GM Korea workers staged several rounds of partial strikes from Oct. 30, demanding an end to a wage freeze and a new vehicle production plan at the plant.

GM Korea may suffer further output losses as its union members on Tuesday voted against a tentative wage deal.

The strikes cost GM Korea about 25,000 vehicles in lost production. The company suffered output losses of 60,000 vehicles in the first half due to impact of the pandemic.

Renault Samsung halted its only plant in Busan for several days last month due to lower demand for its models.

From January to November, the five carmakers sold a total of 6,283,652 units, down 13 percent from 67,232,728 in the same period of last year.

Their domestic sales rose 6.2 percent to 1,483,974 in the first 11 months from 1,388,327 but overseas sales fell 18 percent to 4,809,678 from 5,844,401. (Yonhap)